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Mon 23 Sep 2019 05:47 PM

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Bankers decamp to Saudi Arabia as Aramco goes ahead with IPO

Sources say Saudi Aramco is ploughing ahead with preparations for its initial public offering

Bankers decamp to Saudi Arabia as Aramco goes ahead with IPO
IPO underwriters will hold two days of analyst presentations with their banks’ research teams starting Wednesday.

Saudi Aramco is ploughing ahead with preparations for its initial public offering, with a string of banker meetings scheduled this week after it added more than a dozen junior underwriters to the deal, people with knowledge of the matter said.

IPO underwriters will hold two days of analyst presentations with their banks’ research teams starting Wednesday, September 25, near Aramco’s headquarters in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, according to the people.

The senior banks on the IPO are meeting now to prepare, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Executives from the newly-appointed bookrunners on the deal were also flying to the Middle East over the weekend for meetings with Aramco starting Monday, according to the people. Bankers have been working around the clock on the IPO since being hired, with the aim of having everything ready for Aramco to list as soon as November if the company decides to proceed, the people said.

Aramco has already started out informally sounding out potential investors to gauge their interest, the people said. The oil producer hasn’t made a final decision on the IPO timing and will evaluate market conditions closer to the date.

It is still discussing a potential IPO valuation of at least $2 trillion with the arrangers, though it wasn’t yet clear whether Aramco will be able to achieve the target, the people said.

In recent days Aramco added banks including Barclays, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and UBS Group as bookrunners on the share sale, barely a week after hiring the top underwriters, the people said. It also picked Credit Agricole, Gulf International Bank and Societe Generale, the people said.

The energy giant is adding about 15 bookrunners in total, including two Chinese firms, one of the people said. The company, officially known as Saudi Arabian Oil Co, is still planning to add more local firms in junior roles on the offering, the people said.

Aramco, Barclays, BNP, Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale and UBS declined to comment. Representatives for Credit Agricole and GIB didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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